author Patti Grow, cat lover
It was deep into the weeks of winter in 2020, and I knew in my heart that my days with my beloved 18 year old Simon Cat were drawing to a close. He was suffering from kidney failure, and I felt that he would let me know when his fight was over. That dreaded night arrived in early March, and he looked up at me one last time with his denim blue eyes and quietly passed away in my arms at the Emergency Vet Center.
For days on end, I cried and I felt like once again my heart was ripped out of my chest. For any of you that have ever lost a companion (family pet), you know that awful gut-wrenching feeling. I continually told my family, “No more cats! I can never do this again! I will never love any cat the same way that I loved Simon!”
Well… fast forward to… the very next month! Being retired has its advantages. I have a lot of time to do mindless things—which is perfectly fine with me! One of those tasks is searching the internet, and on this particular day, I came across a RagaMuffin breeder near Pottsville, PA. I grew up in a small coal mining town named Mahanoy City, so of course I knew where Pottsville was on the map (not to mention some of the best eating establishments I ever came across!) A quick email inquiry to Sara Thornton, and she provided me with a wealth of information about her cattery and the RagaMuffin breed. As I began sifting through the sweetest cat photos ever on her website, my heart yearned for another cat. At the time, there were no kittens available. All of those fur balls were spoken for and would soon be going to their “furever” homes. Phew! I was saved—after all, NO MORE CATS for me! (I am not sure who I was trying to convince!)
Sara and I conversed some more and she popped the question, “Would you be interested in Fudgie?” Now, Fudgie had resided with Sara since he was a kitten, and the two of them became best buddies. She explained to me on the phone one evening all there was to know about Fudgie! My heart raced with excitement and then when we ended our conversation—and a mega feeling of uncertainty waved over me and paralyzed me with a mountain of questions. “What if I can’t fill Sara’s shoes in being Fudgie’s caretaker?” “What if Fudgie doesn’t like me?” “Will he be happy here?”
After a lengthy conversation and some confidence coaching from a former colleague of mine named Bob (whom I am proud to call a friend and THE most marvelous baker EVER), I decided, “Why not take Fudgie? I could do this! Besides, if Fudgie doesn’t like me, well… it will all be just fine—I would be fantastic for Fudgie—after all, Bob said so!”
The day finally arrived! I was bringing RagaMuffin Fudgie home with me! I set out on a solo road trip to Pottsville, anxious to finally meet Sara and of course, to finally meet my new furry friend. It was during COVID, so social distancing was in effect. As Sara took the carrier inside and returned with Fudgie and placed him on her porch, she called from her door, “Please bring him back to me if he’s not happy.” Oh no… what did she know that I didn’t know? All the way home, I asked myself, “How would I ever begin to replace Sara as his caretaker?” Stress and doubts crept over me as I began my journey home – (insert heavy sigh here and two eyes full of tears too).
Now, I won’t kid you. The first week or two with having Fudgie with me, I began to feel that Sara was correct. He wasn’t happy. I wasn’t Sara. Then, I heard Sara seem to whisper in my ear saying, “Remember, Fudgie is a timid cat. It will take weeks and months for him to perhaps come around and feel comfortable.” “I could do this! Don’t give up!” It will all be worth it—I think!?!
Well, it’s been almost five months and guess what? Fudgie has stolen my heart! He and I are best buddies, and I exist just to serve his immediate needs. (Any of you that have cats know that THEY are the ones that are really in charge, correct?). I will save that story of how I serve Fudgie for yet another post. He has done an admirable job of training ME in a few short months! ?
In every way ever imaginable, Fudgie has been a true blessing, and I could never ever fathom my life without him being part of it. I love him bunches! He and I are “friends to the end!”